4 March 2014

Sewing Coco 2: Sew the Neckline

Sewing Coco? Okay, let's sew the neckline! The pattern comes with two different neckline options - a plain boatneck or a sixties-style wide funnel roll neck. I’ll show you how to do the plain neckline version first, followed by the funnel neck.

Plain neckline version

There are various ways to sew the neckline on a knit top. Coco features what is both an authentic Breton style and probably the easiest to sew – a simple turn-and-stitch neckline.

Fold the raw edge of the neckline under by 10mm (3/8”), wrong sides together (in other words, towards the inside of the garment), so the line of stay stitching is just hidden from the outside.

TIP: If you can get your hands on hemming tape or knit stay tape, it can be really handy for creating a stable finish that’s less likely to gape. Stick or stitch it along the neckline before turning it under. I'm using a double-sided adhesive hemming tape.

Press the neckline in place to neaten it and smooth out any wrinkles, pinning it if you need to (if you’re using fusible tape, you won’t need pins). Set the zigzag stitch to 2.5 width x 2.5 length (or your preferred size) and topstitch the neckline – ie. sew visible stitches on the right side of the garment - 5mm (1/4 in) from the edge. You'll be sewing all the way round, so try to aim the end of your stitching line so it finishes directly on top of where you began. I’ve used contrast thread so you can see the topstitching – you could choose matching thread if you want to hide the stitches, or go for a bright colour as a design feature! Now press the neckline to secure and neaten the seam.


Funnel neckline version

The other neckline option is a sixties-style wide funnel roll neck – ooh la la. It’s a bit more involved than the plain neckline, but nothing too tricky.

Fold the funnel neck piece in half widthways, right sides together. Pin the short ends together and zigzag stitch them using the setting you’re using for sewing seams (I’m using 1.5 width x 2.2 length). Trim the seam allowances to about half their width to reduce the bulk, and press them open to neaten the seam line.

Now fold the funnel neck in half lengthways, this time bringing the wrong sides together. Make sure the ends of the seam line you’ve just stitched are directly on top of each other, then pin the long edges of the funnel neck together.

Now we’re going to baste (or tack) these long raw edges of the funnel neck together. Basting (or taking) just means sewing long, temporary stitches to hold pieces in place before you sew them for real – in this case, before we attach the funnel neck piece to the neckline. You can baste with either straight stitch or zigzag stitch – whichever you choose, set your machine to a long stitch, about 4mm in length. Use this long stitch to sew the edges together using a 10mm (3/8”) seam allowance (ie. 10mm from the raw edges). You're basically sewing in a loop here - try to finish your stitching line directly on top of where you started.

Pin the basted edge of the funnel neck to the right side of the bodice neckline, aligning the seam line on the funnel neck with one of the shoulder seam lines. The funnel neck is a teeny bit smaller than the neckline so that it pulls the neckline in ever so slightly to help stop it gaping, so you may need to stretch it a tiny bit when pinning.

Set your sewing machine to the zigzag setting you’re using for sewing seams (I’m using 1.5 width x 2.2 length), and stitch the funnel neck to the bodice neckline. I'm using contrast colour thread so you can see it, but better go for matching thread. Again, you’ll be sewing in a loop – aim to sew the end of your line of stitching directly on top of where you began.

Now get out your iron. Press the funnel neck away from the bodice and press the seam allowances towards the inside of the bodice.

Zigzag topstitch (2.5 width x 2.5 length) the seam allowances to the bodice – this will stop the seam allowances flipping to the outside. (I'm doing it on the inside of the garment in this photo so you can see where I'm sewing, alternatively you can sew from the outside of the garment if you prefer.)

And that’s your funnel neck sewn! When it comes to wearing it, roll half of the funnel neck down so it just covers the seam line.

Lovely stuff!

In the next post, we’ll sew the sleeves and side seams. Need to catch up? Read the other posts in the Coco sewalong.